Start Using Garden Lime In Your Chicken Coop (Here’s Why)

Yup, there’s a whisper in the wind. Listen close.

Did you hear it?

The talk of the town is that garden lime is the miracle of maintaining a clean and odorless coop (and we’re not talking about the lime fruit!).

Put down that Diatomaceous Earth (DE) there’s a new player in town that’s more effective AND significantly cheaper.

Here’s why you should use garden lime in your chicken coop, if it poses any risks to your chooks, and some other vital tips for usage and deep cleaning of your coop.

Why Garden Lime Is Used In Chicken Coops

Not to be confused with the sour citrus fruit, garden lime is made from finely ground rock, particularly limestone or dolomite.

So, out of all things, why would garden lime possibly be used in chicken coops or runs? Well, I’ll tell you it’s NOT just an urban myth. 

Garden lime IS the wonder miracle you’ve been looking for, deemed as a safe method for:

  1. Drawing moisture from the coop
  2. Repelling unwanted pests (like rats, rodents, etc.)
  3. Eliminating and preventing mites and other insect infestations. 
  4. Limiting the growth of bacteria

So garden lime helps keep your chicken’s parasite & pest free (no mites!) and keeps your chicken coop clean and smelling fresh.

It works almost identically to Diatomaceous Earth but at half the price!

Important Tip: Just be sure you are using garden lime in your chicken coop, as opposed to hydrated lime which can be toxic to chickens if consumed or inhaled!

How To Use Garden Lime In Your Chicken Coop

First of all, when applying any foreign substances such as garden lime to your chicken coop, you should always take a conservative approach.

Although there are several benefits to adding garden lime to your coop, in excess it could do more harm than good.

So, if you want to reap the benefits without compromising your chicken’s health or well-being follow these steps to using garden lime in your chicken coop:

  1. Give your chicken coop and run a good solid clean-out.
  2. Sprinkle a very fine amount of garden lime on the bottom layer of your chicken run or coop. This works whether it’s gravel, dirt, or sand. 
  3. Cover this with the top layer of your choice, whether it’s a bit more dirt, sand, straw, or bedding.
  4. Optionally, you can sprinkle one final handful on the top layer too. 

Presto. You now have a cleverly protected chicken run or coop, drawing moisture, combating bad smells, and repelling insects from termites to spiders. 

Note: if your garden lime comes as pellets, it’s best to grind/crush it into powder form before applying.

Should You Use Garden Lime If You’re Using The Deep Bedding Method?

The deep bedding method is widely used as one of the easiest ways to maintain your chicken coop’s cleanliness, with probably the least amount of manual effort required!

But, the sole reason the deep bedding method can keep your coop clean through all your chicken droppings is through the composting of bacteria at the bottom layer of bedding, after all the filtration.

By adding garden lime to the equation, whether it’s on the bottom layer or the top, you will inevitably hinder the effectiveness of the deep bedding method, making it kind of obsolete!

So the rule is, either use garden lime or use the deep bedding method – not both!

Can I Use Garden Lime In Chickens’ Nesting Box?

If you’ve chosen your garden lime carefully and if you’re certain it’s not hydrated lime then you CAN sprinkle it to your nesting box.

However, it’s honestly not required here.

Placing a thin layer of garden lime on the coop floor, covered by bedding or other material is simply the best way to go. It will work its magic throughout the whole coop.

Hens like to get nice and comfy in their nesting boxes, particularly if they become broody. Even if the garden lime isn’t necessarily harmful, there’s simply no point risking it, or at the least disturbing them while they are at their most vulnerable.

Will Lime Hurt My Chickens?

The key question you should ask before changing anything in your chicken’s environment is: could this be harmful to my chickens?

In the case of lime, although most types of limes are completely harmless around chickens (wether in the garden or in the coop), you should still exercise caution.

This is because some types of lime can contain calcium hydroxide which can be harmful to your chickens.

So, it all comes down to which type of lime you are using.

Garden Lime Is Safe

Also known as limestone, aglime, and agricultural lime, garden lime is organic and isn’t harmful to chickens. It’s commonly known as a neutralizer of soil pH and eliminates bad smells.

Hydrated Lime Is Dangerous For Chickens

Also known as Calcium hydroxide, hydrated lime is considered toxic to chickens. It’s used as a strong disinfectant. 

Never use this anywhere close to your chickens. Hydrated lime can easily cause skin irritation, discomfort, burns, and can be incredibly dangerous if ingested by your chickens!

Key Points To Remember

  • Make sure you always use garden lime/agricultural lime. If in doubt, check the label for toxicity warnings and always follow directions.
  • Always use a glove when handling the lime powder, to be safe.
  • Make sure that you lock the chickens out while you clean and spread your lime powder.
  • Always cover the lime powder with something, don’t simply leave it on surfaces in and around the coop.
  • A little goes a long way.

Final Thoughts

So it’s true.

Using garden lime in your chicken coop can be a wonderfully easy way to rid of smells and discourage pests and predators.

If you’re concerned that lime will hurt your chickens, that’s fair enough. For this reason, always be 100% certain you are using completely organic garden lime.

You don’t need much. Use it sparingly.

If you do, you can enjoy its wonderful benefits to your chicken coop, without your chickens even batting an eye.

6 thoughts on “Start Using Garden Lime In Your Chicken Coop (Here’s Why)”

  1. I cleaned everything out yesterday and spread a thin layer of garden lime in the run this morning before adding fresh dried leaves .My chickens waited until the bedding was down to leave the coop.

    • Hello! We also use lime to combat mites. Our local store suggested this and we have found it to be helpful. We had a pretty bad outbreak of mites and it heavily reduced the strain on the chickens fast. Lime is a fantastic resource when used well. Thanks for the article.

  2. I read an article about using lime or DE with the deep litter method saying these would kill the bacteria in litter. Doesn’t this eliminate the purpose of the deep litter method?


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